Imagine this: you’re sitting on your new deck with a cool drink in hand, the sun on your face, the summer breeze blowing through your hair, and the sound of the kids playing off in the distance. Ahhhh…bliss!

Adding a deck to your home can bring a lot of enjoyment to your life. It gives you a space to relax, enjoy the outdoors, and entertain friends and family. During the warmer months, a deck essentially acts as an extension of your home.

Naturally, you want to make sure your deck build is done properly and to your satisfaction. And unless you’re building your own deck, one of the first steps toward having the deck of your dreams will be hiring a deck contractor. 

But before you sign on the dotted line, there are a few key things you should consider:

 

1. Decide What You Want: Questions To Ask Yourself

Before you call a contractor, first you need to decide what you want in a deck. There are a multitude of options not only for the materials your deck is built with, but also for deck accessories like lighting, built-in seating, and railings.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself about your deck build:

  • What is your budget?
  • What size and shape do you want your deck to be? 
  • Where would you like your deck to be placed in your yard?
  • What type of deck railings do you prefer?
  • Do you have a preference for what type of material your deck is built with? Think about both appearance and how much time you want to spend on maintenance.
  • How will you use your deck? (Basics like outdoor dining, gatherings, or sunbathing vs more involved options like a full-fledged outdoor kitchen or living room, for example.)
  • Are there specific design features you want to include, such as levels, built-in seating, gates, lighting, a gas line for BBQ, privacy screens, a fire pit, and so on? 

These elements will all impact the cost, design, and timeline of your deck, so the more specific you can be, the more accurate your quote will be. 

Of course, if you’re not sure about some of these things, the team at Outdoor Solutions will take the time to answer your questions and make sure you know all your options before we design and build your deck.

Have a small yard, and not sure if a deck will work in your space? Check out our blog on Deck Ideas for Small Yards!

 

2. Understand the Process: Questions To Ask Your Contractor

In addition to asking yourself these questions, it’s important to ask your deck contractor some key questions to understand the deck building process. It’s also advisable to gather some information about your potential contractor before you hire them. 

Here are some important questions to ask before hiring a deck contractor:

  • Are you licensed and insured?
  • How is the permit process handled?
  • What are the different types of materials available to use in building my deck? Do you specialize in a particular type of decking material?
  • What warranties are available for materials and workmanship?
  • Do you charge a deposit?
  • What forms of payment do you accept?
  • Can I see examples of your previous work?
  • Can you provide references from previous clients?
  • When can you start building, and how long will it take?
  • What if something goes wrong? How will you handle that?
  • Will there be a supervisor on-site during construction?
  • How much will it cost, and what is the payment structure? (Always get a written estimate for your deck project!)

Talking through these questions with your contractor will ensure that you understand what to expect during the building process. 

Planning a deck build this spring or summer? Here are 5 steps you should take right now.

 

3. Sign the Contract and Let the Building Begin!

When all your questions have been answered and you’ve received written estimates and chosen a contractor, it’s time to sign a contract for your deck build. A written contract is vital, because you want to have everything in writing to prevent any confusion or issues later on. 

A few things that should always be included in your contract are:

  • The total price, including materials, work, fees, and taxes (where applicable)
  • A description of the work being done
  • Estimated project start and end dates

Once you sign on the dotted line, you’re ready to schedule your deck project with your contractor. Before you know it, you’ll be entertaining friends and family on your new deck!

Adding a deck to your home is a big investment, so it’s important to understand your options and what the building process will look like before hiring a deck contractor. At Outdoor Solutions, we’re always happy to answer any questions you have. Take a look at our deck gallery for inspiration, and give us a call when you’re ready to talk about building your deck!

 

Originally published in March 2020; Updated May 2024